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Old 10-27-2004   #1
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Google Say Not Reporting All Backlinks : )

Seems like the Google rep at the Search Engine Strategies 2004 Conference & Expo in Stockholm yesterday noted the following.
Q: What is up with the Google link: command?
A: Google says they are not reporting all your links back to your site. So think before using it.
You can read this over at the http://www.seroundtable.com blog. Check out Oct 27th and the entry called Link Building Basics.

Last edited by bobmutch : 10-28-2004 at 12:28 AM.
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Old 10-28-2004   #2
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???

The blog that you cited specifically mentions that Google dodged this question (didn't confirm anything):
Q & A:

Q: I asked Google (Magnus, new Google speaker and engineer at Google), why do you bother updating the link command if its not really statistically sound?
A: Google pretty much avoids the question, sorry. But then Danny backs me up and says, if you have the command, it should be 100% accurate - otherwise do not give it. Thanks Danny.


I think that your assertion is correct, but that's not what the blog states.
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Old 10-28-2004   #3
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hugo guzman: Ok it seems like the entry Barry made in the SE Roundup blog that the Google spokesperson said "they are not reporting all your links back to your site. So think before using it." So what was said by the Google rep. Is "Google pretty much avoids the question, sorry" what they said or what they did?
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Old 10-28-2004   #4
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I thought that has been common knowledge for awhile now that Google does not report all the backlinks it recognizes, only a sampling. That is what I heard from a Google rep in San Jose and it was common knowledge before that.

So this is nothing new, is it?
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Old 10-29-2004   #5
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This is checkable though somewhat a bit of work. Go to Yahoo or another engine and grab the listings for your backlinks... then do a search for the listings that have PR 4 or greater (the so-called limit)... there is a tool that will check the PR but I do not have it handy... if the total is less than the Google backlink number then a strong conclusion can be made that the above statements are accurate.
A gut feeling agrees with the overall and the fact that I am told I have afew hundred backlinks for a page that ranks number one for a 7+ million page SERP.
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Old 10-29-2004   #6
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David Wallace: Nothing new just I have not seen a record of Google ever saying that and the old page on there site still says it displays all backlinks.
AussieWebmaster: I don't think there is any question that the link: command is not displaying all the links but just a sample. The issue I was addressing was that it seems that Barrys post over at SE Roundup was noting that the Google spokesperson stated this. I think that I may of misunderstood the post over there.
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Old 10-29-2004   #7
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There's no doubt that the google link: command delivers an incomplete sample.

This post is more focused on whether or not Google reps have admitted to it.

It's really very trivial since we all know the answer anyway.
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Old 10-29-2004   #8
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I have long disregarded the count on inbound links etc. and concentrated on getting solidly placed in the organic SERPs for the popular terms that bring people to my website (which I get from my log files).... I care far more for being number 1 for 60 terms and on the front page for about 150 terms - this impacts traffic and ROI much more ...
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Old 10-29-2004   #9
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hugo guzman: While I can understand it being trivial to you it is not to those that have clients that are asking where are my links. You explain to them that Google only provides you a sample and they point to Google page that says it shows them all.

In fact I just had a conversation with a "Professional SE Optimizer" that claims that the link: command shows all links just like Google states "The query link:siteURL shows you all the pages that point to that URL. For example, link:www*google*com will show you all the pages that point to Google's home page." http://www.google.com/help/features.html

So having said that, if Google has gone on record and said that the link: command doesn't show all links it is of interest to me.
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Old 10-29-2004   #10
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You completely misunderstood me.

I am also interested in having google confirm that the backlink command is incomplete. That's why I responded to this post in the first place.

I rarely take on new seo clients because I make much higher margins on my own proprietary sites (and my sites give me way less headaches than my clients do!), but when I do take on a new client I explain this and other phenomenon before signing a contract. I prefer for my clients to be informed about the nature of SEO before signing them up. I try to put these types of issues in writing (i.e. "Google's backlink command is not accurate, etc...), so that if they try to come at me later I can refer back to the contract literature. Even so, they still come at me with their psuedo educated seo opinions anyway .

That's why I insist on their defering to me when it comes to making decisions that guide their seo campaign. I tell them point blank: "If you're not sure that my firm is in complete control of your optimization campaign and is capable of achieving the results that you desire, then please tell me now."

I won't work with a firm that isn't at least somewhat educated when it comes to seo, and I won't work with a firm that doesn't have complete belief in my and my staff's abilities.

It would be nice if google would definitively state that their backlink command is purposely flawed (along with about 1000 other seo related secrets), but that would just take all the fun and excitement away!
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Old 10-29-2004   #11
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hugo guzman: Well in that case I am glad that I completely misunderstood you! Not sure what you were saying trivial, but regardless I am glad to see you would like to squeeze this answer out of them. How about a class action suite for false advertising.
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Old 10-29-2004   #12
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LOL!

That sounds like a solid get rich quick scheme to me.

Last edited by hugo guzman : 10-29-2004 at 03:56 PM. Reason: grammar
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Old 10-29-2004   #13
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You might be joking, but for those who would take a class action suit seriously I'd like to point out that in the US only the FTC has the authority to enforce the FTC Act. Private parties, such as consumers or competitors, can only bring a legal action regarding false advertising under the Lanham Act


Quote:

To establish a violation under the Lanham Act, consumers and competitors must prove the following: (1) the advertiser made false statements of fact about its product; (2) the false advertisements actually deceived or had the capacity to deceive a substantial segment of the target population; (3) the deception was material; (4) the falsely advertised product was sold in interstate commerce; and (5) the party bringing the lawsuit (known as the "plaintiff") was injured as a result of the deception.
I think you'd have a difficult time convincing people that the fact that Google does not actually report it's full backlinks is material and connected to it's product (which would be Adwords, I imagine) being bought.

I think they should clear things up - this makes them look bad, but I don't think it's time to light the torches and bring in a horde of people materially harmed by the fact that the are not being shown accurate backlinks as a free service, assuming you could find any.

Now, if they were lying in your AdWords reports, that's a different story.

My personal opinion,

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Old 10-29-2004   #14
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LOL! Come on its Friday, lighten up.
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Old 10-29-2004   #15
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LOL

Sorry, came out of the cold with the "mod hat" on.....

<buys bob a virtual beer and opens one himself>

Cheers,

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PS TGIF!
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Old 10-29-2004   #16
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pass me one of those virtual beers! (I'll be getting a real one in about an hour).
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Old 11-17-2004   #17
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New reason to resurface this thread.

Matt Cutts spoke today at WMW and one thing he brought up was this thread and the "confusion" about the link command.

Here is what I wrote in my coverage:
"Doubled the amount of link data which he explains to be better. They broadened out more accessibility to those links. He is a good politician."

Basically he did not say it is a statistically sound sample of all your links, but rather they are showing more links from a more diverse grouping of PageRank classifications.
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Old 11-17-2004   #18
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rustybrick: So what did Matt Cutts really say. You say he spoke about this thread. What did he say.

I was searching the internet last month in vain, reading all of Matt Cutts quotes I could find. I am quite sure he has gone on record saying the link: command doesn't show all links but for the life of me I couldn't find it.

Does any know know where that is. I have read quotes that had no reference that state he said the link: command doesn't show all links but I can't find the source.

Matt Cutts: If you are reading this thread can you tune in and give was the word. Or at least as much as Google will let you.

GoogleGuy: How about you. Can you tell us why the link: command some times shows less that 20% of the links that Yahoo does, when your web site clearly states that the link: command shows them all.

http://www.google.com/help/features.html
"The query link:siteURL shows you all the pages that point to that URL. For example, link:www*google*com will show you all the pages that point to Google's home page."

All the SEO types know that the above is not ture and that the link: command only shows a sample, why can't Google to go on record and tell us how it is. Either that or get rid the statement that says it shows all the pages.

Last edited by bobmutch : 11-18-2004 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 11-17-2004   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobmutch
...
http://www.google.com/help/features.html
"The query link:siteURL shows you all the pages that point to that URL. For example, link:www*google*com will show you all the pages that point to Google's home page."

All the SEO types know that the above is not ture and then the links command only shows a sample, why can't Google to go on record and tell us how it is. Either that or get rid the statement that says it shows all the pages.
It would be nice if Google would just set up some pages in order to detail to us exactly how their algo ranks pages, but since the secrecy of the algorithm is possibly among their chief assets they are not really very likely to do that.

It is not up to the search engines to explain to SEOs how their system works, rather its up to the SEOs to figure it out, and you can count on Google not making it easy.
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Old 11-17-2004   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobmutch
http://www.google.com/help/features.html
"The query link:siteURL shows you all the pages that point to that URL. For example, link:www*google*com will show you all the pages that point to Google's home page."
Good find. I've assumed for so long it was common knowledge that the command only showed you some of the links that I never thought to check what Google said on the site.

When the command showed you the links that were PR4 or above, though, it was much more useful than it is now, where it seems to show only the junk links on scraper sites (not a bad thing to be aware of, perhaps, but not much to be done about them) and other low PR links.

I'm wondering if Google's going to adjust the wording on the site sometime soon, or else fix the command.
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